Enjoy this tropical dish as an entrée alongside a salad, a snack, or the perfect appetizer for a pool party! These Healthy Coconut Shrimp with Mango-Chili Sauce are gluten free, paleo, and can be made whole 30 and keto compliant!
Dining out while being gluten free or keto in Florida is not huge loss if you love the taste of seafood. I, however, only enjoy seafood fried and breaded! Sadly, while coconut shrimp is a classic fried favorite, however, are not an item that typically makes the restricted diet menu.
Luckily, they are super easy to make at home, healthy diet and all! Full of all the fried-food goodness you missed, this dish is crisp, delicious, and accompanied by a spicy sweet mango-chili lime dipping sauce.
Coconut Shrimp Ingredients
These coconut shrimp take only seven simple ingredients: shrimp, eggs, tapioca flour (or ground flaxseed for keto), unsweetened shredded coconut, coconut flour, coconut oil, and salt & pepper.
If you are making the optional dipping sauce (skip for keto or Whole 30): grab some mangoes (I used frozen thawed for fast & easy), coconut milk, a lime for juice, a jalapeno, honey, and chili flakes.
How to Butterfly Shrimp
If your shrimp are jumbo or on the larger side, you may want to butterfly the shrimp (quick summary: a technique for slicing the shrimp in half). This helps provide the recipe with more flavor and breading as there will be increased surface area to the shrimp.
Leaving the tails on, butterfly the shrimp. Slice in half, down the back until they open up; stop about 1-2 cm from tail. See below image for an example of how/where to make the cut.
How to Make Healthy Coconut Shrimp
Prep the shrimp as mentioned above if desired or use whole (this will not work if they are frozen and not thawed in advance). Whisk eggs and tapioca flour (or ground flaxseed) together in a small bowl and set aside. Mix unsweetened shredded coconut, coconut flour, salt and pepper in a separate medium bowl and set aside
Assembling your healthy coconut shrimp:
Dip shrimp each in the created egg mixture. Allow each to drip. Cover/roll the shrimp in the coconut mixture. Repeat until all the shrimp are covered.
Melt ¼ cup of coconut oil in a large frying pan. Fry half of the shrimp over medium heat for 2-3 min per side until opaque (outside will be golden brown). Do not crowd. Add the remaining coconut oil when first batch of coconut oil runs out. Fry the second batch of shrimp until golden brown and crispy. Blot the shrimp with a paper towel to remove excess oil.
Making the coconut shrimp dipping sauce:
If you’d like to make the optional sauce, all the ingredients are combined/pureed in a blender and heated in a saucepan if desired to serve warm.
What to Serve with Coconut Shrimp
Here are some of the best side dishes to serve alongside coconut shrimp as the main entrée:
- Rice dishes (especially tropical like ginger or pineapple fried rice)
- Pasta salads
- Tropical coleslaw
- Mango, pineapple, or other fruit salsa
- Guacamole (+ mix in a small handful of crushed pineapple)
- A potato dish: potato salsa or French fries
- A side or accompaniment salad with a tropical touch
- Spring rolls
- Grilled pineapple
Healthy (Paleo, Keto, Whole 30) Coconut Shrimp FAQ
They are gluten free, Whole 30, and paleo compliant. In order to make them keto, substitute flaxseed flour for the tapioca flour in the recipe. Omit the sauce for Whole 30 or keto.
It depends what you define as healthy. Per traditional nutritional definitions, they are high in saturated fat. According to rules of clean eating, however, they are made without gluten, preservatives, processed oils, colorings, flavorings, and more, deeming them better for you.
If you are watching your oil/fat intake, reference the recipe notes below. Instead of frying them, you can also bake coconut shrimp at 400°F on a wire rack for 10 mins on each side (20 mins total).
Coconut shrimp are much better served freshly fried/baked. However, you can cover and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Reheat leftover coconut shrimp in the over at 400°F for about 10 minutes total. Or fry in your air fryer at 400°F for 2-3 minutes.
Keep Things Tropical
Loving that tropical life? Coconut shrimp make the perfect tropical appetizer or dinner party entrée. If you love this recipe, you may also like these tropical favorites:
- Island Breeze Mimosas
- Pineapple Coconut Mimosa
- Healthy Fruit Salsa
- Easy Mozzarella Melon Prosciutto Skewers
Enjoy your trip to paradise! Here’s to regaining our sparkle together,
Healthy Coconut Shrimp with Mango-Chili Sauce
- 1 lb shrimp peeled, raw, deveined, tail-on (large size) , if using frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator
- 1 tablespoon organic tapioca flour , for keto swap with ground flaxseed
- 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
- ¼ cup organic coconut flour
- Dash of pepper and pinch of salt
- ½ cup coconut oil (¼ cup used at a time for frying)
- 1. Optional: Leaving tails on, butterfly the shrimp (slice in half, down the back until they open up; stop about 1-2 cm from tail). *This helps provide the recipe with more flavor and breading if the shrimp are larger in size.
- Whisk eggs and tapioca starch together. Set aside in small bowl.
- Mix coconut, coconut flour, salt and pepper. Set aside in separate medium bowl.
- Dip shrimp in egg mixture. Allow to drip. Cover in coconut mixture. Repeat until all the shrimp are covered.
- Melt ¼ cup of coconut oil in a large frying pan. Fry half of the shrimp over medium heat for 2-3 min per side until opaque (outside will be golden brown). Do not crowd. Add remaining coconut oil when first batch of coconut oil runs out. Fry the second half of the shrimp.
- Blot shrimp with paper towel to remove excess oil.
- Combine sauce ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth. Optional: heat in a saucepan until desired temperature is reached (I prefer mine warm but some people prefer this sauce cold).